Saturday, 28 February 2015

Harlem's Hidden Gems

The moment I started to lint roll my socks was the moment I knew that I had gone too far. I feel like I woke up today at 8.30am, (well 10.30am, because I had a mid-morning nap in between) and bought myself an all-day ticket to Procrastination Ville. After what has been an immensely productive week, I couldn't help but drown in a wave of disappointment at the lack of productivity in my professional life but it seemed that the minute I parked my car in P-Ville, there was no getting out, the traffic was fucking insane. Today I managed to do everything BUT what I actually needed to and slyly convinced myself that this was somehow okay. And I guess this is how I ended up perched on my bed, carefully lint rolling a black ankle sock.

When your office is in your bedroom, that Friday feeling kicks in super early, like before the day has even truly begun. By 11am I was already craving a night on the dance floor but knew I had shit to do, so decided instead that I needed a good coffee. Although my block is on the rise - I am happy to announce we have 24 hour police security outside the building - there are still more sketchy deli's than there are artisanal coffee shops. We are not Williamsburg just yet. I desperately needed to start the day with a cappuccino and I already felt disappointed because the easiest place to venture was Dunkin Donuts. Buying a cappuccino from DD is like drinking coffee flavoured milk, so you can instantly understand why I sound so 'first world problems' about it all. I spent about an hour avoiding making the journey to DD by really dragging out writing my to do list, combing my eyebrows and then ordering takeout with the roomies. I promised myself that if I ate properly first I would have the energy to conquer the items on my list and make everyone proud. I didn't actually start tackling said list until about six minutes ago (the first bullet point was to write a post). 

If we were to take a satellite video recording of my day, kinda like how you do when you play Sims, it would go something like this: eat grilled chicken wrap and fries, tidy room, organise jewellery, lurk in the hallway, go for coffee, go to supermarket, clean entire apartment including the refrigerator, take pics for Instagram on fire escape, frame and hang up Prada Marfa poster, lurk some more, clean bathroom sink, make sweet tea and lime infused water, hand wash all black clothing, go to ratchet laundrette and dry clothing whilst whatsapping friends... I mean it hit 6pm and I was absolutely exhausted from doing all of the things that needed doing just not necessarily today, oops! 

By now, you're probably wondering what all of this has to do with the title 'Harlem's Hidden Gems'  but it seems that even when it comes to my writing, I procrastinate. Kidding - I've been trying to build things up for dramatic effect of course. So after my eating marathon, my roomie and I decided that we really did need coffee and he seduced me by mentioning a 'super cute' place a few blocks from us that was supposedly amazing. Of course I needed to avoid doing work so walking eight blocks was no biggie! In fact, had it not been - 4 degrees, I would have walked eighty blocks today I am sure of it. Off we trotted, arm in arm (literally) blending in extremely easily with the kooky locals until we arrived at Astor Place Coffee. Fuck my life is all I could think as we waltzed into this super hipster-meets-artsy-meets-trendy little joint that I had been dying to discover. Instantly before I even took a sip of my perfectly foamed cappuccino, I knew this place was one of those not so hidden, hidden gems, right there on Lenox between the crack dealing deli's (kidding) and nail salons. I was smiling on both the inside and out knowing that I had found my new spot. Oh yea, it was all going to happen here I could tell! It was the perfect place to bring my laptop, while I slyly perved over a handsome stranger drinking an earl grey. Happy as fucking larry I tell you. 

I guess the moral of the story is that when you move to a new neighbourhood be sure to check out all of these little places, even if you don't trust the typeface on the front door. The other night I also night capped at the cutest little bar - Hyacinth's Haven - nestled between two brownstones and covered in fairy lights. These mini ventures were sweet little reminder's as to why I picked Harlem to be my new home, swoon. 

Please note, my guide to the neighbourhood will be up in the near future! 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Everyone just needs to North Face

On Monday I spent the entire day cooped up in my room, which also now serves as my office. I am pretty sure that what followed is a little symptom known as cabin fever. They say it's never good to sleep where you work (well, i'm sure someone said that at some point) and it's true because by 7pm I was ITCHING to escape. I found myself lurking the corridor of my apartment to see which roommate I could temporarily distract and dammit, no one was even in. For the past three days in a row I had spoken to my good friend Carid about how badly I wanted to dress up and wear heels and feel pretty. I looked outside momentarily; it was bleak and there was no predicting how deep the slush puddles were, especially in Harlem where nobody really cares to clean up the streets unless there's body - kidding!

So anyways, back to Carid. It was 7pm and I Facetimed her (we do that a lot) recalling that earlier in the day I said I would venture to the Upper West Side for beer and wings and talks of the D - again kidding! She has this little bar near her place and it's so American and cute that I insist we keep going back there; the giant beer glasses, beer pong and the strong scent of the all-American man are a whole new world in comparison to the quaint little British pubs that i'm used to. Now, having been stuck in doors all day, I really really needed the beer and wing session but as soon as she answered the call, looking all sorts of cosy in her bed, I knew instantly that IT had gotten to her. This IT that I am reffering to is an awful monster called 'New York Winter' and has really destroyed the lives and souls of all of my loved ones. Do you know how hard it is try and persuade your native NYC homies to leave their warm apartments just because one tiny Brit is super excited about being here? Let me tell you, it takes a lot of effort.

Carid and I looked at each other several times before one of us said it. 'It's too cold isn't it?', I stated in a whiny defeated voice as I sat huddled in my office chair and her big, brown puppy dog eyes met mine in agreement. Let it be known that I am really dramatising the situation for effect - those who know me know that this is just something I do for fun. As the FaceTime conversation dipped in and out of poor connection, which I am almost certain the weather is also to blame, the recurring discussion of how badly we need to dress up and feel ladylike reared it's ugly head again. We could only dream of the days where Spring and Summer was due to reign; where long walks in the park after dark were made for giggling girlfriends and new romances. Where wearing next season's peep toe's with white skinnies and an oversized baby blue boyfriend shirt was actually a possibility but nope, today was not that day.

As I often rely on Carid for her wonderful sense of style and blunt words of wisdom, she said the one thing which I didn't want to hear but knew to be true: 'Everyone just needs to North Face', and with that I hung up and ordered Seamless.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Adult as a verb

This morning my friend Bunny (peep my Instagram for visuals) sent me a picture on Whatsapp. The picture, let me try my best to describe, was of a cute dog sprawled out on his front, face stuck to the floor. I’m assuming it was a boy because I’ve never had a pet so naturally I decide that most dogs are male. Anyway back to the photo. So this poor sprawled out pup, with the world's saddest expression was lying there with two captions in true meme style that read: ‘I can’t adult today. Please don’t make me adult’, and that was it for me. I was ‘lol’ing’ all over the place. I decided to contribute to this visual Internet chain by sending said picture to all of my witty companions who I just KNEW would appreciate it. And boy did they appreciate it.

Around midday, when I started to get the procrastination itch, I decided to go and bother my new roomates. I figured because we all share a common bond of enjoying cheap red wine and salt and vinegar crisps – not chips – when it is too cold to go outside which at the moment in NYC is pretty much all of the time, decided that we didn’t feel very much like ‘adulting’ today either. In my case, having recently left the world of employment for a full-time life contract in Procrastination-Ville it became more apparent to me that being an adult was very much a doing act.

Let me take it back to the good old school days when society referenced the Oxford Dictionary as opposed to the Urban one. From what I recall, a verb is a ‘doing’ word, whereby there is an action involved… usually the predicate follows the subject blah blah blah (I just want everyone to know that I passed English). As an adult, there are a lot of things we need to do that often take a lot of effort. I’ll start with the most obvious ones such as the need to pay bills, which means we need to go to work and dress ourselves and make sure we are eating in order to survive etc. Then there are extra responsibilities on top, such as having to interact with other humans and somehow manage a social life whilst figuring out who we are. These are just a few of the things that we have to do all while being an adult, so it naturally made sense to me that if we umbrella all of these actions under one word, namely adult, we have a new verb.

I have spent a lot of time this past week soul searching (read: procrastinating on Pinterest) and during these bleak times where self-motivation is crucial to my schedule, I have realised that being an adult is in fact a real thing and we all have to do it. I would carry on sharing my revelation’s with you but it’s officially 3.50pm and I have to go and adult for the remainder of my day.